Former Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini. File picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA.

JOHANNESBURG - The ANC on Tuesday confirmed that Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Land Reform Sdumo Dlamini is in hospital after he unexpectedly fell ill.

According to media reports this week, Dlamini's illness was due to suspected poisoning. ANC deputy secretary Jessie Duarte said her party has not been informed on the cause of the former Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) president's illness.

"We wish him a speedy recovery. We do know what caused his illness and we cannot speculate. We are worried about him...he is not doing well. Mrs Dlamini is in touch with us, we get updates and we hope the cause is not poisoning, he is a valuable member of ANC and society," she said on Tuesday during a post-ANC NEC media briefing.

Dlamini's department said he was on currently on sick leave after he was admitted to hospital for a severe headache.

"In consultation with the family and the visits we have had we are pleased to inform you that he is recuperating very well, hence he tendered his apologies to the relevant authorities on all official engagements. The family and his doctors request privacy while they are attending to him,"  spokesman Reggie Ngcobo said in a statement.

Once a staunch supporter of former president Jacob Zuma, Dlamini was appointed deputy minister by President Cyril Ramaphosa after the May 8 general elections. As Cosatu president, Dlamini had to adhere to the union federation's decision to support Ramaphosa ahead of the ANC conference in Nasrec in 2017. 

In the same year, Dlamini told reporters that he beefed up security at his home at Durban's Umlazi township after a dead cat was found in his garden. Dlamini said at the time that the dead animal was a sign of serious threat. He believed that his life was in danger as calls for Zuma to step down mounted at that time.

African News Agency (ANA)